Ganesh: Guardian of the Temple

Written by on October 16, 2018 in Conscious Living, Exercise and Fitness, Health with 1 Comment

Ganesh is the Hindu god who represents the remover of obstacles, the gatekeeper between the earthly world and the spiritual world. Understanding the his origin story gives us insight in balancing the realms of physical and spiritual.

Here is one version of his story . . . .

The Beginning of the Universe

The story of Ganesha begins with Shiva and Shakti, the primordial male and female creators of the universe. Shiva represents the consciousness of all things and Shakti represents the everything which has form and movement.


In the beginning of the Universe’s creation, Shiva was often away from Shakti as he attended to some of his responsibilities in the corners of the universe. Shakti missed their intimacy that they once shared so from her laughter, Shakti created a son and named him Ganesh.

As the son of embodied movement, even as a child Ganesh was born with incredible physical prowess. Ganesh gave Shakti companionship and love and served as charge of guarding the gates to her inner sanctum—under no circumstances was he to allow anyone to pass.  

A Rude Awakening

When Shiva returned home, he marched straight toward Shakti’s chamber.  But he was surprised as he was met abruptly by this new little person, Ganesh. “None shall pass,” said Ganesh abruptly (I’m sure in proper Monty Python fashion). Annoyed, Shiva sent some of the members of his posse to go and take care of this annoying little boy blocking the way. But as the son of Shakti, Ganesh proved to be very powerful and probably looked like the young Vin Diesel of Hindu Gods as he cleaned house with Shiva’s brute force. As Ganesh was more than holding his own against his attackers, Shiva started to get a little nervous.  He thought, “This won’t look good if this little kid takes care of my posse. Even worse if he then schools me.” So while Ganesh wasn’t looking Shiva threw his trident and beheaded Ganesh.

A Quick Fix and a God is Born

Hearing all the commotion, Shakti came out of her room and saw the commotion and her newly decapitated son on the floor. She threw the stink-eye at Shiva and said, “Fix this. NOW.”  Shiva, seeing that he was in hot water, told his right hand man to go and find him a head. Any head. He returned with a head-an elephant head. Shiva said, “This will have to do.” And with that, brought Ganesh back to life. In this way, Ganesh became both the son of Shakti as well as Shiva, a blend between the physical and the spiritual.

Teachings

The symbol of Ganesh helps to remind us of several aspects of our yoga practice as well as our practice of daily living. Many of the depictions of Ganesh show him sitting with one of his legs in the enlightened pose of lotus while his other foot rests comfortably on the ground. This teaches that while we are seeking spiritual progression through yoga practice or by any other way, we must also keep our contact with the physical world. Even more than that, it shows that the path to spiritual expression is often through the magic and joy of the physical form, whether that be through rituals or physical poses. Our yoga practice is the perfect example: we move our bodies as a tool which points to the spirit.


Every time I see someone roll down the road on their skateboard, I think of that soul experiencing a touch of enlightenment through the bliss of motion through time and space. Whether skating or performing asana, we allow ourselves the indulgence of the underlying form of mind and heart through the physical machinations of the body. Through the body, we give ourselves a tangible connection to spirit.

Poses

The gateway to the body is the connection between ground and body: the pelvis and hips. Stretching and opening the hips are a great way to not only keep our lower half healthy and happy but also a way of combining physical the gateway into opening something spiritual.

You’ll learn the steps to enter the gates toward the sacred chamber of heart and mind through the body.

 

 

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in New York City and when he’s not teaching or conducting retreats, he writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, and his own blog at scottmooreyoga.com. Scott also loves to trail run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats to places like Hawaii and Amalfi Coast , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program

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  1. MeamI says:

    Very nice article. Enjoyed the read, and the addition of some smiles through your story telling. Cheers!

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